Thought Experiment: Theological Methodologies and Grandmas

I was just thinking (danger zone); wouldn’t it be just like the LORD to confound the wisdom of the wise with what the wise consider to be foolishness? Except get this: Instead of the usual dualism that this kind of thinking is usually thought through — like Church-world, or sacred-secular – what if the reference was actually Church-Church, or sacred-sacred? So that what the wise in the Church consider to be wisdom; and obversely, what the wise in the Church consider to be foolish, turns out to be the wisdom of God. I have been thinking a lot about Dispensationalism  lately, and it strikes me that most biblical exegetes and systematic/dogmatic theologians today (Christian ones) consider Dispensationalism to be the “common-man’s” religon; or the untrained dilettante’s attempt to provide a “sophisticated” theological construct (based on “common sense” literalism) for their beliefs. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the dispensationalism so often mocked turned out to be the most proximate to how it actually is?

I am persuaded that at least classic dispensationalism is not the way it is. But then again, I could be wrong. I’m not admitting of an relativism in my approach, or that we cannot come to any kind of critically real understandings of theological hermeneutical reality. I’m just thinking out-loud about the possibility that so many theological trajectories, for all their respective gusto, could be terribly wrong; and of course I am thinking of theological adiophra or secondary musings elaborated and articulated by theologians and biblical exegetes (i.e. theolougemena); not about essential teachings elaborated by the Church ecumenical (i.e. I’m not entertaining some sort of nihilistic hermeneutic).

I’m just positing the idea that for all the collective wisdom amongst all of the collective theologians and biblical exegetes out there; grandma who sits in the pew with her common-woman understanding could be more wise than the “Wise.” A humbling prospect . . .

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8 thoughts on “Thought Experiment: Theological Methodologies and Grandmas

  1. Bobby: This has become somewhat the issue for me, I am not sure God cares all that much for our so-called “theology” today! And He certainly seems able to reveal Himself without the top-tier of theological thinking. And it is so true, that our so-called modern theological thinkers & theology look down their nose at Dispensationalism! It is here btw, I am simply drawn to “biblicism”! Funny, how we must sometimes unlearn things! ;)

  2. I’m just positing the idea that for all the collective wisdom amongst all of the collective theologians and biblical exegetes out there; grandma who sits in the pew with her common-woman understanding could be more wise than the “Wise.”

    My mother in law is one of the least complicated people I know as far as her engagement of “lofty” theological considerations. But she also has one of the most incredibly profound practical understandings of what it means to trust Jesus and seek to know Him on a personal level.
    Her faith is simple. Childlike. And it is not only a beautiful thing, but humbling, as well.

  3. @Fr Robert,

    Yes, it is interesting the “game” that Theology represents. I obviously believe it’s an important game, even a necessary one; but probably what my post was really getting at — as you seem to p/u — is the role that attitudes play in all of this. It is certainly something we all struggle with at some level. Interestingly, I know of many dispies who look down their noses at top-tier guys; considering them to be either “Liberal” or maybe not even really Christian at all (two-way street).

    @Heather,

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I know plenty of people just like this, and it is these kinds of folks who really motivated this post.

  4. Bobby,

    I would personally not call so-called ‘Christian Theology’ a “game”, as simply a Christian discipline, certainly flawed, but needed at times as we seek to understand God Word. But in the end, we are always left with the Biblical Revelation itself! It is here rather, the ‘Spirit Himself broods’ (Gen. 1:2).

  5. Fr Robert,

    To me it is a “game,” not in a pejorative sense; but in the sense that it is often shaped by innovation and man-pleasing (by defintion — i.e. peer review etc.). Yet, I still see a place for it. To me the issue isn’t so much the game, but the attitude of individual theologians and biblical exegetes; that’s what matters to the Lord.

  6. Bobby,

    I get ya! But, I don’t think there is a special place for “theolog’s”. I wonder just how much of it is just “wood, hay and stubble”? (1 Cor. 3:12-13, etc.) ;) Indeed I agree about the individual attitude however of the believer. It seems only the pastoral and true spiritual teaching will abide, and we must leave this to the Lord! (Note 1 Cor. 4: 1-4…note now it is “man’s day”)

  7. I think there is a special place for the theolog/teachers etc. in the sense that there will be a stricter judgment for these types; which should be a very sobering thing!

  8. go grandma ! thank you Bobby, I came across your piece while frantically googling Theological Methodologies , in order to try and make sense of an assignment question I am struggling with in my Theological studies, and as I was ready to throw the books out the window, so I read your sensible and sensitive comments. So often these academic requirements threaten our joy and inate God given wisdom , as I said GO GRANDMA ( I am a Grandma so I know what I’m talking about)

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